There’s been increased focus on care in the news over the last week, in response to the devastating impact of Covid-19.

So many people have lost loved ones, after a difficult decision to place them in care facilities in the first place.

We fail our elders if we are unable to continue to keep them connected to their families and communities.

Although we have all had to make sacrifices during lockdown, when elderly people are segregated, denying them access to their loved ones feels cruel.

Having watched Disclosure on July 29 on BBC Scotland, I’m curious about how such segregation contributes to the requirements of residents and staff of care facilities having been apparently overlooked during the pandemic. I am highly wary of the extent to which profit is being made of the ageing process. Whether services, new housing or care homes.

All new developments come down to being delivered as efficiently as possible – i.e. maximising return on investment and, in respect of care provision, operating profit margin.

But the drive for cost efficiencies has arguably contributed to high infection and fatality rate in care homes from CV19, across the UK.

We need to open our eyes and see that care within our communities is about integrating such facilities, maintaining dignity and inclusion and providing more intergenerational activities and opportunities, combatting ageism and encouraging the view of ageing as a positive contribution to society.

Success is more than a financial outcome.

As someone who’s worked across health, care and housing in the Lothians I’ve been following local strategic and development planning for a while now too, especially the plans for a care village on the outskirts of North Berwick.

There is a real risk we stumble into further harmful segregation with some of the thinking being exhibited.

I oversaw a development of extra care housing in Midlothian a few years ago and maintain there is a place for smaller scale developments of this nature but they must only exist because people chose to live there rather than the system deeming it necessary that care is delivered centrally.

Scottish care homes generally look after much higher levels of care needs.

In effect, we no longer have residential care homes and around 80 per cent of care home beds are for people with significant levels of health needs and/or cognitive decline.

The retirement village model has been in existence in England for quite a while now and there is a really good reason it hasn’t take off in Scotland so far. While we recognise the need for specialist services to care for our elders when they need it, Scotland is committed to maintaining people within the community for as long as possible.

This is what we want for ourselves surely.

We all have an interest in this.

Think ahead to your 100th birthday – where will you be and what changes did you make to get there?

Lyn Jardine